Here’s a conversation from a few days ago regarding lexis and grammar:
“I’m sure if you gave on group of them (the learners) a dictionary and the other a grammar book and sent them to London, the group with the dictionary would come back much more fluent”
So, if it’s true that a well-developed vocabulary paves the way to fluency, how can we increase the odds of getting there? Certainly, learners bring a heap of bad vocabulary habits to the classroom from their learning experiences, baggage that if not examined and dealt with will obstruct them from reaching their full potential in English. The job of getting things in working order lies in the hands of the teacher.
That’s not to say however the whole process becomes a teacher-centred dictatorial mess. But to shake up the system, change needs to come from the top.
- How do you board language?
- Which vocabulary do you choose to correct?
- How do you drill language?
- Do you check how learners keep vocabulary?
- Do you test them on vocabulary? Do you recycle vocabulary?
- Do your learners know how to use dictionaries and research words?
- If you said “this is a verb + noun collocation”, would they know what you mean?
What are your vocabulary teaching habits? Try taking a picture of your board every day. Look at what you put on there. Does it reflect the ideals you’d like learners to hold about language?
Here are some questions I aim to answer in the next few posts:
1. How can you equip learners with the right strategies to find, store and learn vocabulary on their own?
2. Which teaching techniques create an optimum classroom environment for vocabulary acquisition?
3. What are the bad habits our learners have and to what lengths do we go in order to help them?
4. How do you integrate teaching pronunciation into vocabulary teaching? Holistic or not?
5. Recycling, revisiting, testing: is this our job to enforce it or to whip up motivation for learners to do it themselves?
The first topic I’d like to tackle regards vocabulary strategies and I’d love to know how you teach/foster these in YOUR classrooms.